By Alexey Sukachev
Eight rising newcomers, who have succeeded (in various ways) in previous installments of the popular all-European heavyweight/cruiserweight series under the banner of Bigger's Better Boxing Promotion, gathered together at Sport Hall in Varazdin, Croatia, to define the best boxer among them. All of the fighters involved are relative newbies. All of the fights are scheduled for three three-minute rounds under a familiar format of the popular UK Prizefighter series.
Just three months ago, no one knew of Romanian southpaw stylist Constantin Bejenaru. It took Bejenaru (6-0, 1 KO) just two days - tonight and the night of September 23rd - and just six fights and six wins to become a familiar face for European boxing fans.
Bejenaru, 27, a former amateur star, rocked through his first tournament in Vilnius, Lithuania, with three easy victories. Earlier tonight he repeated this trick in Croatia. It didn't take a lot of effort to completely outbox Ed Monso and Nicolas Wamba but Croatian fighter Ivica Bacurin (14-3-1, 5 KOs), with a partisan crowd behind his back, was somewhat different to Bejenaru's previous foes.
However, the Romanian southpaw used his reflexes and stinging left hands to trouble Bacurin in the first round. The second round was pretty even, and then, in the third, both fighters engaged in the slugfest with Bejenaru being just a notch better.
After three rounds two judges voted in favor of the Romanian while the third official scored this fight a draw - thus crowning Bejenaru with the majority decision win. BoxingScene had it 29-28 - for the Romanian, who earned the big prize of $25,000 USD. Bejenaru is definitely a man to watch for in the future.
Frenchman Nicolas Wamba (4-1, 1 KOs) dwarfed his Romanian opponent Constantin Bejenaru in terms of his size and physical stature, but it didn't prevent him from suffering a lopsided unanimous loss as Bejenaru dwarfed Wamba in terms of his skills and boxing mastery, which proved to be a decisive point in the fight. Tricky southpaw Bejenaru (5-0, 1 KO) used in-and-out tactics, combined his single left hands with fast combinations and brilliant defense to frustrate the Frenchman all way through. Bejenaru almost decked Wamba in the third and easily got a convincing victory. BoxingScene had it 30-27 - for the Romanian.
The second finalist was defined in a battle of two crafty sluggers. Bacurin, 29, was on the defensive, while 26-year old Latvian knockout artist Mairis Briedis chased him around the ring with mixed success. The Latvian boxer was especially effective with his dangerous body punches in the second stanza, while Bacurin dealt his share of damage to the rapidly tiring Briedis in the third and last round. Both fighters gave their all but (unlike the Croatian) Briedis was the aggressor throughout the entire fight. However, judges preffered the local boy, who is now 14-2-1, 5 KOs, and moves on to the finals, while Briedis (8-1, 6 KOs) suffered his first professional loss. BoxingScene scored it a draw 29-29.
In the first quarterfinal, former amateur standout Constantin Bejenaru (4-0, 1 KOs) of Romania easily outpointed tough but limited Dane Ed Monso (3-3, 2 KOs) over three. Bejenaru, the last successor among the finalists, was better in every possible department beating Monso to the punch with a relative ease.
The second quarterfinal saw 23-year old Frenchman Nicolas Wamba (4-0, 1 KO) defeating his Romanian opponent Marc Adrian (2-2, 2 KOs) in devastating fashion. Adrian was floored twice before the stoppage, which came in the second round.
Mairis Briedis, clearly the most dangerous puncher of the whole bunch, continued his inspiring streak of the lightning-fast knockouts with a first-round blowout of Denmark-based Iraqi, Mourad Raid (2-2, 1 KO). Briedis used his skills to avoid lazy pressure of the chubby Danish fighter in the first minute. In the second, the Latvian fighter wreaked havoc upon Mourad Raid with his use of his right hands. Raid was issued a standing eight after the left hook and was soon finished off with a series of stinging right hands, and the last of them put Raid face-first on the canvas.
The fourth and the last semifinalist was defined in a clash between local hero Ivica Bacurin and German kick boxer Nico Falin. Bacurin (13-2-1, 5 KOs), the most experienced fighter of the crop, outboxed his aggressive opponent in the first and the finished him off with a barrage in the next stanza. First, Falin was dazed with a brutal one-two from Bacurin and a standing eight was issued. Within a few seconds, the Croatian boxer followed up with a hard right hand, which put Falin down for the fatal ten.